Good UX and Bad UI

Hello all! For our Intro to HCI course, we were tasked to find examples of good UX (user experience) and bad UI (user interface). As such:

My bad UI is UMBC’s career portal, entitled UMBCWorks. I know that I’m kind of throwing my school under the bus for this one, but maybe it’ll prompt change in the design a little bit.

For one thing, in the screenshot above, it’s not cropped at all–it’s just not super well-optimized for different screens. Which is fine, just makes it a bit of a pain.

Second, let me zoom in a bit. The default sign-in portal to the right is the one for alumni who no longer have a UMBC email, not those who still have a login or current students. In addition, when directing the students to their login screen, they have a URL typed out, but it does not have a link so the student has to copy and paste the text into another tab. Not a huge issue, but an easy fix that for some reason has not been addressed.

Now for the regular screen itself, post sign-in. It looks sort of like a social media site, yet it also lets you link to your LinkedIn profile.

In addition, looking at it, the user has no idea where to start. It’s so unintuitive that when classes require it, they give students instructions with screenshots on how to get where they need to in the website.

Case in point

I think one of the reasons why it’s so frustrating to use is because there are too many buttons. Looking at it, the news feed is sort of poorly integrated into the main site, when most people do not go onto UMBCworks specifically for the news feed – they use LinkedIn.

In addition, in order to put your resume on UMBCworks (which students are encouraged to do), do you go to “Profile”, “Documents”, or “My Account”? The answer is “Documents” but it takes a bit of digging to figure this out.

Initially, when going into college, I was a chemical engineering major. If you look closely, you’ll see that my news feed still only has info related to chemical engineering careers.

In short, the interface is not very modern, intuitive, or nice looking. I’ve never heard of a UMBC student actually using UMBCworks for anything other than required purposes. Fo networking, students use LinkedIn, and for looking up opportunities, they can use ur.umbc.edu, the undergraduate research website which is a lot more user-friendly.

UMBCworks was made for a valid reason, and it was a good idea. However, in order to make it serve its purpose it must be better-designed.

Disclaimer: I really like my school and it has a really good career center that’s helped me a lot. UMBCworks has only been around for a short time and still has a lot of improvements ahead of it. However, right now there are definitely things that could be improved.


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